Brandt family sets sights on top of the fruit chain

01/30/2014 12:52:00 PM
Coral Beach

With more acres, warehouse space and new equipment in place, E.W. Brandt & Sons is making a new marketing push for its RemBrandt Masterpiece Fruit brand.

The logo includes a sketch of a lion created by Dutch artist Rembrandt in the 17th century.

“Part of our thought was that the lion is the top of the food chain and we want to be at the top of the fruit chain,” said fourth-generation fruit grower-shipper Joe Brandt, sales manager for the Wapato, Wash., company.

A somewhat unintended benefit of the logo is its appeal regardless of a customer’s language, said president Allen Brandt. He said the play on the artist’s name doesn’t need translation and the classic lion sketch speaks for itself.

“It’s our goal to get to a 50/50 split on domestic and export business,” Allen Brandt said. “Domestic sales have been a little flat, but we are working on growing the business slowly to reach that 50/50 point.”

The family company, which previously included a nursery operation, split into separate entities in 2012, the third-generation president said.

RemBrandt Masterpiece Fruit boxCourtesy E.W. Brandt & SonsA sketch by Dutch master Rembrandt adorns the refreshed logo for E. W. Brandt & Sons brand RemBrandt Masterpice Fruit.He and his brother, vice president Dana Brandt, own and operate E.W. Brandt & Sons without the nursery division, which other siblings continue to run. The fruit company ships apples, cherries, pears, nectarines, peaches, plums and apricots.

The E.W. Brandt growing operation, dubbed TLC by Allen and Dana’s mother, is seeking additional growing partners within “400 miles or so” of its packing facilities, Allen Brandt said. The company already added about 400 acres to its fruit tree operation in the past year, some of its own and some belonging to contract growers.

A recent purchase of a warehouse with refrigerated space means the company can pack and ship about 500,000 more boxes of fruit annually, Allen Brandt said. Installation of new packing equipment has made the company’s other packing facility more efficient, but overall the company continues to employ about 350 people.

In 2012 the company shipped about 1 million boxes of fruit, increasing to about 1.5 million boxes last year. Allen Brandt said he hopes to ship 2 million boxes in 2014.

“We’re not the biggest fruit company, and that’s not our goal,” he said. “Our goal is to manage our growth and be very consistent with our quality so buyers know every pack they get is going to be as good as the one before.”



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